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‘Awa Treats Anxiety: Hawaiian Medicinal Hedge Plants

Today marks the beginning of series of posts regarding Hawaiian Hedge Plants and we start with the mystical ‘Awa plant.


‘Awa (pronounced aahvaah) is a sacred plant in the Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures and has many uses from the magical to the medicinal. It is more commonly known today as an intoxicating beverage but it’s uses are found in ceremonial traditions both religious and community based across Polynesia. ‘Awa has several medicinal uses including the treatment of: anxiety, colds, headaches, respiratory diseases such as asthma, diabetes, rheumatism and it is commonly used as a muscle relaxant or sedative, often in conjunction with Lomi Lomi or Hawaiian massage.

‘Awa,  Kava Kava, Yaqona, Sakau, Piper methysticum 

The  Polynesian use of Awa as a potent medicinal hedge plant has a long history in the Pacific region. The health benefits attributed to the plant are many. The primary active ingredient in ‘Awa are Kavalactones which are accredited with the ability to impart intense relaxation without affecting mental clarity in it’s users. Used as a social lubricant in ancient social ceremonies, ‘Awa has found new popularity in bars and cafes dedicated to it’s consumption.

Preparation: An`awa drink, good for anxiety, migraines or pre menstrual discomfort may be prepared for personal use by chewing a few small pieces of clean root until a thumb size cud is formed. Once you have produced three of these cuds, mash them in a bowl with fresh water. Strain the liquid through cheese cloth to remove the fibrous elements and if you prefer add cane juice or honey as a sweeter as ‘awa is the Hawaiian word for bitter.

In the traditional Hawaiian preparation, the `awa may be mixed with water or with coconut milk and is sometimes warmed in a special calabash called a kanoa, over hot stones. After straining it is consumed when it has cooled. ‘Awa is often served as a beverage of thanksgiving and is gulped not sipped with some left in the cup that is poured onto the ground with a prayer.  Offering `Awa and prayers to one’s ancestors strengthens their spirit presence so that they may be of help to you and your Ohana or family.

Magical Lore: In ancient Hawaii, Kaulas or soothsayers would use ‘Awa to aid in the reception of prophetic visions.

‘Awa Treats Anxiety: Hawaiian Medicinal Hedge Plants

6 responses

  1. Pingback: Relax with glass of Iced Ki : Hawaiian Medicinal Hedge Plants « The Hedge Witch Oracle

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